Volleyball Takes the Court in KC
"Since we have limited playing dates in the spring, it's extremely important that we value every opportunity that we have to play an opponent other than ourselves," said rising junior Kersten Kober. "We play each other every single day in practice, so getting to see different offenses and defenses and learning how to respond to them, when it comes to the fall, we'll know how to attack different things because we'll have seen it."
At today's scrimmages, the Wildcats will split into two squads - K-State 1 and K-State 2 - for the morning matches. Each split squad will play two matches before the team comes together in the afternoon to take on Wichita State at 1:30 p.m., followed by a 2:30 p.m., full-squad matchup with Drake.
"They are all going to get a lot of playing time," said head coach Suzie Fritz. "They're going to be very tired by the end of the day."
Hard at work training together since the last week of February, K-State has focused on sharpening its individual skills this spring while also learning to come together and build chemistry on the court.
"We get them every day, and we're practicing from two to about two-and-a-half hours per day just like we would in the fall," explained Fritz. "It's an enormous training phase for us. Actually, we probably get more training time now than we do in the fall because in the fall there's a lot of opponent preparation and we have to rest them going into competitions. So, this is our largest training block, and I feel that we're taking tremendous advantage of it."
This weekend will mark the second time the Wildcats take on teams in Kansas City during its spring slate, as on Wednesday, April 1, the team scrimmaged against both UMKC and Havoc at UMKC. K-State went into last week's scrimmages with a defensive mindset and captured victories in six of the eight total sets it played.
"Any time you go and play someone, it's good because you're exposed in areas of weakness," said Wildcat rising redshirt junior setter Katie Brand. "Against UMKC and Havoc, we were working on defensive transition and it helped us see where we could improve. So this weekend, we'll be working on our offense."
The shift in focus from defense to offense will be the key point in today's scrimmages. With the last few days of practice improving the attack side of things, it is time to see all the hard work play out in a live-setting against an opponent.
"Our objectives are all kind of tactically based (in the spring)," said Fritz when asked what she hoped to get out of this weekend's tournament. "This weekend will all be about our first swing offense, how productive it is and the things that go into developing it. So, what I want to get out this weekend is developing our first swing offense. I want to make sure our passing relationships are secure, I want to make sure that our setters have us running at the rhythm and the tempo that we want to be running at, and I want to make sure the hitters are on time and that the cover piece is on place."
Following this weekend's scrimmages, the Wildcats will head to Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa, to take on Minnesota at 9 a.m. on Saturday, April 18, before closing its spring schedule in Nebraska with matchups against both Nebraska-Kearney and Nebraska on April 25.
Admission to today's matches is free to all fans. For a look at the K-State Spring Invitational schedule, please click here.
BRAND SELECTED TO U.S. COLLEGIATE NATIONAL TEAM FOR SECOND TIME
For the second straight year, K-State setter Katie Brand has been selected to train and compete in the U.S. Collegiate National Team (CNT) program, USA Volleyball announced. The rising redshirt junior will work with 35 other athletes in New Orleans, Louisiana, from June 21-29, at the Girls' Junior National Championships.
A native of Grand Island, Nebraska, Brand is one of six setters chosen for the program this year. She was one of three Wildcats that participated in the U.S. Women's National Team Open Tryouts in February in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
"Katie is one of our hardest workers, and I believe that this opportunity is one that she has earned through her level of work and commitment," said K-State head coach Suzie Fritz. "She embraces each and every chance to compete and challenge herself as a player. Her opportunity to work within the USA Volleyball system and continue to develop as a leader with other talented collegiate players throughout the country is a unique and special one."
To continue reading about Brand's accomplishment, please click here.
K-State Baseball Thumps No. 3 TCU
The K-State baseball team busted out for 18 hits and 14 runs, both of which were its most in a Big 12 regular season game in more than two years, as the Wildcats beat No. 3 TCU, 14-4, to open a three-game series on Friday at Tointon Family Stadium.
Using a season-high 18 hits to score their second-most runs in a game this year, the Wildcats (15-17, 3-7 Big 12) beat their highest-ranked opponent at home since May 7, 2010 when they topped No. 1 Texas. The hits and runs were their most in a conference regular season game since April 6, 2013 vs. Texas Tech (15 runs, 18 hits).
To continue reading about last night's Bat Cat's victory, please click here.